Marian Cooperation with God--A Pattern for Ours: Tuesday, October 29, 2019


On the cusp of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, we read from Chapter 7, “The Communion of Saints,” in Karl Adam’s The Spirit of Catholicism. Our Lady is the Queen of those who have left this earth doing God’s will.

And so the wonderful fact that God is not alone in the work of redemption, but that creatures too, in their measure, truly share in that work, is illustrated nowhere more clearly than in Mary. It is true that the fact that Mary had such privilege was due to grace alone, that she was called from eternity to be the Mother of God and was from the beginning immersed in Christ’s redeeming grace, so that she was conceived Immaculate, without stain of original sin. It was grace too, and grace alone, which gave her heart its ardent and complete devotion to the Savior and its maiden resolution, so that she ‘knew no man’ (Lk. i, 34) and as ‘Virgin of virgins’ was that closed door ‘through which no man shall pass, because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it’ (cf. Ezech. xliv, 2). Yet the grace of God does not offer violence, but would be freely accepted. And therefore, however infinitely small Mary’s own activity may appear in comparison with the activity of God, there remains a human strand in the divine robe of our salvation, the ‘Be it done unto me’ of Mary.

“And the Catholic exalts Mary above all angels and saints (hyperdulia), because it has pleased God to give her decisive words this effective position in the work of redemption. The Fathers from the time of St. Justin Martyr continually urge this importance of Mary in the history of salvation, and contrast it with the sin of the first woman. Just as Eve’s consent to the serpent’s temptation brought sin and ruin, so did Mary’s consent to the angel’s message introduce redemption. So Mary possesses not only a personal relation to the Son of God and her personal salvation, but also a relation to the ‘many’ who are redeemed by her Son. She is mother not of the Redeemer alone, but also of the redeemed; and so she is the mother of the faithful. The Catholic acknowledges in heaven not only a Father, but also a mother. Though by her human nature she is infinitely distant from the Father, yet her special graces have raised her to a wonderful nearness to God, and as mother of the Redeemer she reflects God’s goodness and bounty with an inwardness and a truth that are possible to no other creature. When the Catholic speaks of his Heavenly Mother, his heart is full with all the strength of feeling that is contained in that word. Mary is as it were a gracious revelation of certain ineffable and ultimate traits in the nature of God, which are too fine and too delicate to be grasped otherwise than as reflected in the mirror of a mother. Ave Maria!”

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